The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate is in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
I am not going to respond, fully, to your email now because I, myself, am depleted after an amazingly challenging day, and I’ve just returned from a dinner party where I’ve had too much wine to drink to allow me to respond in the ways I will want. That said, I need you to know I’ve been thinking of little else but you since you left for NY, but didn’t want to trouble you with emails knowing you were in the midst of great intensity and would reach me when you were able. Please know your communications with me are never received as babbling about “problems” but, rather, as sharing a deeply important life journey with me. Instead of tiring me out, you’ve given me strength—reminding me there is connection and purpose in a world where I have felt disconnected and of no consequence.
The thing that stood out for me the most out of everything you wrote is that the acupuncturist said your body can’t even process the nutrients you take in. Did you know that is exactly the effect of Crohn’s Disease? My body couldn’t process the nutrients I took in and I was, literally, starving. And my body was unable to heal because it was attacking itself.
We have been on such a parallel course! It is time for you to be on this healing path with me. We will heal together because, Spirit knows, I still have so much healing yet to do!
Kelee has healing energy. I know he does. I’m glad his light was there for you. I called him Spirit Dog before I knew his name and he’s a gentle, powerful force.
Let me go get a good night’s sleep and I hope you will as well. I will write to you over morning coffee, but I intend to sleep in (we’ll see if I can). I have lots of thoughts and emotions about your situation.
Here I am with a mug of hot coffee to share with you.
Everything that the acupuncturist is suggesting follows exactly what I did in the first number of months after hemorrhaging. I believe Chinese herbs saved my life. I know you will listen to him and follow his advice. That said, he is only addressing the after effects of your emotional state. Your body is mirroring the depletion of your soul. And, while I agree with him that you MUST heal your body and bring it back to health, it would be useless to do so unless you are, at the same time, addressing the underlying cause of your body’s distress. I believe, deep in the fiber of my being, that surgery will never be necessary if you listen to your body and begin to do what it’s insisting you do.
However, you absolutely must have, not hope, as you say you found in your session of acupuncture, but a solid belief: a knowing. This vocal situation is only very temporary. I promise! (Unless you don’t listen and then it will get worse—I promise that too). It is nothing more than an attention getter and it has your attention. Address the underlying issues and your voice will be healed and the pain only a memory. I am certain you can bring every aspect of your physical difficulties back into health and balance without surgery if you do.
Perhaps you did have your dying moment on that table but, just like me when I died, you’re still thinking you can negotiate in the old ways. When I read what you say about leaving your current position, I am filled with some fear, for I fear you may not be really listening and that, beyond getting your attention, your physical distress has not gotten it’s message through to you. I have tremendous compassion for that place because the same was true for me: I didn’t fully understand my old life had died and I had to birth the new—that the old ways no longer worked, if they ever had. You are being COMMANDED to CARE FOR YOU! If you don’t, you may never talk again or live pain free. You could even die. Seriously.
When I left my job, a job I also enjoyed and knew helped others, a multi-million dollar account was lost immediately. I knew this was going to happen—my client told me we’d lose her business if I left. I worked for a profit-sharing company, so this meant coworkers I loved, some with young families, were going to lose significant income. It is true, there is not another you, just as there was not another me. You will not be replaced, not with someone who will give exactly what you give and what you give is needed. There will be loss surrounding your leaving, for them and for you. It’s how the system is built. It is not black and white by design—so our decisions are hard; so we gain the most from making them.
I don’t want to sound hard, but holding onto the knowing that you are, “… going to have a very hard time disengaging from the expectations of friends and colleagues and the needs of my students…” is really a decision you are choosing to make. You are choosing to make it hard because you are holding rigidly to that idea as an important part of your self-concept. But there is another choice you can make. You can choose to let go of these old ways of being that are, literally, taking your voice, your health and, eventually, your life. Your choice: hard or not. It is, truly, entirely up to you and none of us out here can change that. But there is another truth: unless you get this, really GET this, you are lost. You’re not being given the option not to change. Either you change or you, essentially, lose your voice and die. Of what use will you be to friends, colleagues and students then? People who are at risk will either find another way to succeed, or they won’t. If your path is to take care of yourself, and I believe firmly that it is, then these students aren’t meant to succeed as a result of your efforts, but by some other, currently unseen, pathway—or not. You are not here to live their lives for them. You are not here to heal them. You are here to heal YOU. That’s one of the hardest lessons Bruce taught me.
You will either hurt people you care about (although I believe they must be stronger than you’re giving them credit for being), or hurt yourself, which is what you’ve been doing and look where that’s getting you.
You don’t get to see the stars until you venture out into the late, wild night where the road is full of fallen branches and stones; not until you recognize your own voice and choose to save the only life you can save. Saving them is not an option.
At first I felt BK’s belief that you should leave your job immediately was extreme. Now, I’m not sure. You may be risking losing your voice forever. I don’t know. But if you really believe that’s not something you can do and if you also feel you have another month in you without “eating away at your muscle”, then you have to do what you have to do. But if you endeavor to last out the month and find it’s causing you further harm, then you must fight for your own life and leave.
I am almost afraid to push the send button because email is so easy to misunderstand without the inflection of our voices, and I’ve said some hard things. I hope you trust me enough to know they come from love and a desire to, perhaps, help you see what is hard for you to see right now.
To be continued…
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Love to you all,